Saturday 30 January 2016



2: Not sending you for the shopping again!
3: Lichtenstein Castle.
8: Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria. (Thank you, David.)
12: Arashiyama, Japan.
14: Thanks Jim.
16: Kids, huh? They just come back and bite you on the butt.
18: Paddle Steamer with a difference.
21: Edinburgh Castle with a bit of an omen in the sky.
25: Don't worry, Panda Paws... :)
Thanks to Jim and David for sending pictures for inclusion.

Thursday 28 January 2016



Admirably, Ms Baillie, in this tweet back in June, shows her concern and support for women who suffer from breast cancer. 

Rather less admirably, today she takes part in a Daily Mail Tory hate fest against Dr Philippa Whitford MP, whom the Mail accuses of being on the make becasue, over Christmas she did a few days work at her local hospital while fellow surgeons were unable to work, because of ill-heath, I believe. (Staff illness is something that would be avoidable even if Ms Baillie were cabinet secretary for health. No one wants a sick surgeon wielding a knife over them and regulations on this are pretty strict.)

Prior to being an MSP, Ms Baillie was employed in administration work with East Dunbartonshire Council and Strathkelvin District Council. She may therefore be unaware that medical doctors and surgeons are require to keep their skills honed in order that they may be able to continue to work in their speciality.

It seems not to have occurred to the Mail that, had Dr Whitford not been prepared to take these shifts, there is a real possibility that sick women might have had to have their operations postponed. Presumably then they could have counted upon Ms Baillie to roundly condemn the government for cancelling operations.

Stuart Campbell covered this very fully with his customary competence this morning, and of course we can't add anything to that. Nonetheless, such was our contempt for the article that we just couldn't let the subject go with out expressing our disgust.

The fact that Dr Whitford claimed a salary for operating is seen as a issue. That that salary is some £50+ per hour was seen as a further issue. But surely that is what surgeons earn. We seem to remember that Ms Baillie's erstwhile colleague, Mr Straw, demanded far more for using his influence, whilst a member of another place. The Editor of the Daily Mail wouldn't get out of bed for that kind of money.

We wonder, incidentally, if a Labour government in Edinburgh would slash top doctors' salaries?

No, thought not.

By all means oppose, Jackie. By all means have a go at what you see as inadequacies in the Scottish government's programme and how they implement it. It is far from perfect and we need good opposition. 

But this isn't good opposition.

This is you being crass, cheap and nasty. SNP bad no matter what they do, because they have our salaries and our positions, eh?

Update: I've just seen this blog from Craig Dalzell, who knows Philippa Whitford personally.

Wednesday 27 January 2016


Another only partly human Tory made the headlines today as three top English judges (including their Lord Chief Justice)  ruled that his department's withholding of council tax relief in two cases, was illegal.

One was in the case of  a disabled 15 year old whose grandparents (his carers) needed a room for his equipment, and for an external carer to sleep in overnight on occasion. The second was a rape victim for whom police had built a safe room to protect her from a violent ex-husband, who beat her and threatened to kill her.

The disabled lad, being cared for by his grandparents suffers from a rare disorder Potocki-Shaffer syndrome, which renders him unable to walk, talk or feed himself, and has left him doubly incontinent. 

For heaven's sake, is it not enough that a couple of grandparents have to cope with these situations every single day in life, without being obliged to go to court to stop a lying cheating weasel of a secretary of state trying to reduce their benefits and make their lives just that little more difficult? 

Mr Duncan Smith wasn't overly inclined to speak to the Press about his loss in court, so much so that he made his chauffeur (paid for by us) drive him to a side entrance so that he could avoid them. Unabashed by yet another failure, and utterly mindless of the strain on vulnerable people, he intends to take the cases to the Supreme court. And this despite the Lord Chief Justice being one of three judges to rule on the case.

It's odd that everything Duncan Smith has touched has failed... from trying to appear educated, and being discovered to have lied about his university and management courses, to his disastrous leadership of the Tory party, and Betsygate

His tenure of the DWP has been a catalogue of catastrophe with each of his initiatives failing, computer software costing millions being found to be utterly useless, missed targets for introducing his half witted policies and failures meaning that people have been left waiting for weeks for benefits that they needed, the latest controversy over women's pensions. And of course the thousands of people who have died after being told that they were perfectly fit for work.

He's a one man walking disaster and killing machine. Maybe they should send him to Syria, he could put ISIS members on one of his schemes. 

He's certainly seen off far more Brits than they have!

Seriously, you have to wonder why Cameron continues to employ, at such a high level, a man who has been a failure in everything he has tackled.

What hold does he have over Cameron?

Who knows. Of course, it's worth remembering that he was party leader (with access to whips' records) in early days of Eton Boy's membership of the Commons, before his rise to the leadership. Maybe in that there lies the key. Lord Ashcroft's stories may be mild fare compared to what IDS can reveal.

Here, for your enjoyment is the Tory Party's list of Collective Nouns.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Cecil Parkinson

Parkinson, the sophisticate with a very red face and very yellow teeth.
I've been amazed to read the tributes paid to Cecil Parkinson by his friends and colleagues in the Conservative party. Screeds have been written (and spoken) about his suave, sophisticated charm, and how great a man he was; how close to Mrs Thatcher.

Now I know that it is customary on someone's death to say nice things about them, but that was surely only one side of him.

I wonder what kind of man could have an affair of many years with his assistant then when she becomes pregnant, ask her to abort the baby for his career's sake. 

When she refuses, what kind of man then refuses to acknowledge his child and indeed uses his connections to get the most fearsome, and unprecedented legal restrictions placed around her so that, until she is 18, no one must know who or what she is. (The child was forbidden to be captured in school photographs or to participate in any activity like sports or school plays.)
He has the Tory air of looking down at people.
Not only that but she was sick with a brain tumour when she was just a child.

And still he didn't acknowledge her.

Ask yourself, what kind of man could have a very sick kid and not go to her; hold her hand; tell her things will be alright.

For all the sophisticated charm in the world that he was reputed to have (and I know it is customary not to speak ill of the dead), I only see an unspeakable monster determined to do whatever it took to ensure that his career was as little harmed as possible and that he went on to be yet another gubby peer of the realm.

Just for a laugh

A Redneck buys a ticket and wins the lottery. He goes to Austin to claim it where the man verifies his ticket number. 

The Redneck says, "I want my $20 million." 

To which the man replied, "No, sir. It doesn't work that way. We give you a million today, and then you'll get the rest spread out for the next 19 years." 

The Redneck said, "Oh, no. I want all my money RIGHT now! I won it, and I want it." 

Again the man patiently explains that he would only get a million that day and the rest during the next 19 years. 

The Redneck, furious with the man, screams out, "Look, I WANT MY MONEY!! If you're not going to give me my $20 million right now, THEN I WANT MY DOLLAR BACK!''
A man was walking along the beach and found a bottle. He looked around and didn't see anyone so he opened it. A genie appeared and thanked the man for letting him out. The genie said, "For your kindness I will grant you one wish, but only one." The man thought for a minute and said, I have always wanted to go to Hawaii but have never been able to because I'm afraid of flying and ships make me claustrophobic and ill. So, I wish for a road to be built from here to Hawaii." 

The genie thought for a few minutes and said, "No, I don't think I can do that. Just think of all the work involved with the pilings needed to hold up the highway and how deep they would have to be to reach the bottom of the ocean. Think of all the pavement that would be needed. No, that is just too much to ask." 

The man thought for a minute and then told the genie, "There is one other thing that I have always wanted. I would like to be able to understand women. What makes them laugh and cry; why are they temperamental; why are they so difficult to get along with? Basically, what makes them tick?" 

The genie considered for a few minutes and said, "So, do you want two lanes or four?" 

 One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

 Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

I went to a book store and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him ... is he still wrong?

If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

Is there another word for synonym?

Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice?"

Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"

What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

Why do they lock petrol station toilets? Are they afraid someone will clean them?

If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?

Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.

To be intoxicated is to feel sophisticated, but not be able to say it.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

The older you get, the better you realize you were.

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Women like silent men; they think they're listening.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?

Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest have to drown too?

If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still #2?

If work is so terrific, how come they have to pay you to do it?

Saturday 23 January 2016


While rescuing injured birds, the swan wrapped his neck around the rescuer's neck.

Usually swans are very territorial and don't like human company, but Richard Wiese experienced a moving and wonderful moment during a rescue operation executed with several of his friends from a foundation aiding and rescuing injured birds in England. This is how he describes this moment:

"I lifted him, gently pressed on his chest so that her felt confident and safe. After a few moments the swan stopped resisting and literally wrapped himself around my neck. I could feel his heart beating next to mine. I wanted to shut my eyes to enjoy the moment. It's a really wonderful feeling when you sense a true connection and natural trust. When an animal realises you mean him no harm."
2. Antarctica 
4. California.
6. Botswana.
10. Italy
12. New Zealand.
15. Antrim
20. Melissani Cave, Greece.
22. Falls of Clyde.
26. Yeah, and what you gonna do about it, human?